Italy / 1959 / 83'

*By courtesy of RAI – Cinema

Two workers – an old family man and a young student – meet and work together as winter watchmen of a dam near the Adamello Mount. The film was first thought as a documentary film for Edisonvolta, but then “developed in the hands” of the young Ermanno Olmi (1931), and became his first full-length film. It is a story about behaviours more than about psychological traits of the characters, it does not leave space for performance or novel: no accident, nor even a small snowslide, but focused entirely on gestures, objects, minor everyday life details, always handled with kind irony. A small precious jewel, a film full of gracefulness; no professional actors, directly-recorded sound and shot in Cinemascope.



Ermanno Olmi was born in 1931. He moved to Milan as a young man to enrol in the city’s Academy of Dramatic Art. To make a living, he worked for EdisonVolta, where between 1953 to 1961, he directed about thirty documentaries including La diga sul ghiacciaio (1953), Tre fili fino a Milano (1958) and Un metro è lungo cinque (1961). His cinema debut came with Il tempo si è fermato (1959), a feature film about the friendship between the guard at a dam and a student. In 1977 Olmi made his masterpiece, L'albero degli zoccoli, which won prestigious awards. In the following years, his work was acclaimed by both public and critics alike. After Centochiodi (2007), Olmi announced that he would no longer make fiction films but would return to his first love, documentaries. The following year, he was awarded a Career Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

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